Duals Heat Up Rim Country Sports Scene

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Prep wrestling takes center stage today when 12 teams from around the state converge on Wilson Dome to compete in the Rim Country Duals Tournament.

Dual meet action on two mats begins at 1:30 p.m. and continues until about 9 p.m.

During today's duals portion of the tournament, the teams will be divided into two pools -- gold and purple -- of six teams each.

The highlight of tomorrow's mat battles will be mini-tournament semifinals and finals that will pit the best four wrestlers in each weight division against one another. The top four are seeded into the individual mini-tournament based on their records in dual meet competition.

The semifinal rounds begin at 1:30 p.m. and the championship is to be contested at 3 p.m.

There is no admission charge for the tournament.

Top guns

On the Payson roster are a trio of standout wrestlers who will be favorites to win their weight division titles. They include Zack Lee (152), Larry Wilbanks (160) and Nate Lee (171).

All three wrestled their way to weight crowns at the 17th Annual Mesa Westwood Warrior Classic Dec. 6 and 7. Sporting 9-0 records, the trio will be battling to keep their credentials unblemished.

The Horns' lineup also features three once-beaten wrestlers -- Matt McCarty (140), Bryce River (189) and George Coleman (215) -- who are among the best in the state.

For Payson to win the championship, however, the entire roster must turn in solid efforts.

Among the wrestlers who will be counted on are Tyler Goodman (103), Brad Wilembrecht (119), David Cluff (125), Lee Perez (130), Shane Hounshell (135), Andy Sanders (145), and Sammy Perez (heavyweight).

At the Warrior Classic in a dual meet victory over Winslow Dec. 11, the Horns had to forfeit the 112-pound class due to a lack of an entry. Coaches have yet to find a youngster to compete in the weight division.

Competing in the duals will be teams from Apache Junction, Camelback, Desert Mountain, Ironwood, North, Pinnacle, Phoenix Christian, Pusch Ridge, Skyline, Valley Christian and Baboquivari.

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